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Posted at 8:09 PM ET, 03/ 9/2011

'SPIDER-MAN' SPINS NEW COURSE: New creative team, summer opening announced [UPDATED]

By Michael Cavna

Note: This article originally published at 8:40 a.m. Wednesday.

bwayspidey.jpg


For weeks, rumors have swirled that Julie Taymor was hanging on by a thread.

Now, the producers of "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" -- aka Broadway's most expensive musical ever at $65-million-and-counting -- have just announced that "a newly expanded creative team is in place" and that opening night has been postponed till early summer.

Joining the production's creative team are stage veterans Philip William McKinley (new staging) and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (book rewrites).

bwaytaymor.jpg

As for Taymor's fate, producers Michael Cohl and Jeremiah J. Harris said in a statement Wednesday night:

"The additional time commitment required by this new plan will make it impossible for director and co-book writer Julie Taymor to continue on in her day-to-day duties with the production."

The producers underscored that Taymor is still with the production, saying that she hasn't left the creative team. "Julie's previous commitments mean that past March 15th, she cannot work the 24/7 necessary to make the changes in the production in order to be ready for our opening. We cannot exaggerate how technically difficult it is to make such changes to a show of this complexity," the producers said.

Aguirre-Sacasa is well-known to comics fans as a writer of Spider-Man books, as well as for his accomplishments as a playwright. In 2009, his stage adaptation of Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray" received its world premiere the Round House Theatre in Bethesda (Md.).

McKinley's lone Broadway credit is 2003's "The Boy From Oz," starring Hugh Jackman (aka Spidey's fellow Marvel character Wolverine).

The producers also announced that the "expanded" creative team would include musical consultant Paul Bogaev ("Tarzan") and sound designer Peter Hylenski .

The producers did not specify an exact new date for opening night; the show had been scheduled to open next Tuesday.

Many media outlets ignored the March 15 date -- after the opening was postponed several times -- and decided to go ahead and review the production, a move that reportedly miffed the show's producers. "Turn Off the Dark" was mostly savaged by theater critics, including The Post's Peter Marks.

The musical has also incurred citations for labor safety violations after several performers were injured on set last year; one aerialist was hospitalized for serious injuries after a reported 30-foot fall. Stunt malfunctions have continued to plague the production; as recently as Wednesday night, an aerial effect had to be canceled after the the steering mechanism for the Green Goblin character failed.

"Turn Off the Dark" has been one of the highest-grossing productions on Broadway, taking in more than $1-million in a week; it has also had the longest preview period in Broadway history, totalling nearly 100 performances.

SPIDER-MAN REVIEW: Post critic says 'Turn Off the Dark' is formidable contender for worst musical ever



By Michael Cavna  | March 9, 2011; 8:09 PM ET
Categories:  General, Superheroes  | Tags:  Bono and the Edge, Broadway, Julie Taymor, Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark  
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